When most of the Rams rookies arrived at the facility on Monday, they shuttled over to Thousand Oaks from LAX after landing at one of the nation’s busiest airports.
But cornerback David Long Jr. was different. A native of Southern California, Long had to only get on the highway and drive. And that’s a significant part of what has been so exciting for the 21-year-old cornerback out of Michigan as he begins his NFL career in his hometown.
“It’s like playing high school football again — not in the sense of the speed of the game, but it’s like that at-home feeling,” Long told therams.com on Monday. “I went away for college, so I had to adapt and grow. And I still have to adapt and grow, but it’s a lot easier when you’re at home, versus when you’re still learning your surroundings and your environment.”
For a rookie adjusting to everything that is the NFL, having that sense of comfort and a support system nearby gives Long an advantage most first-year players don’t have. That goes especially for a city as unique and expansive as Los Angeles.
“I’ve been living here my entire life, so that’s a blessing, and to my advantage,” Long said. “I feel comfortable in this environment learning and evolving.”
Check out what jersey numbers the rookies will be wearing. Numbers are subject to change.
A graduate of Loyola High School, Long will also be playing in a pretty familiar setting, as the L.A. Coliseum lies just over two miles from where he earned his diploma.
Given all this, Long is grateful just to have been drafted by his hometown team. And as he gets set to go to work as a professional, he sees the advantages of getting back to SoCal after three years in Ann Arbor.
“Yeah, I think that’s a cool thing — just being at home. I can play a game and go to my brother’s house, or go to my friend’s house and kind of do things I did in high school,” Long said. “It’s crazy just knowing that I could play a game and go to my mom’s house or go chill with my little brother, or whatever the case may be. It’s just a blessing.”
Check out photos of the Los Angeles Rams rookies arriving at the facility!